The authority of the Nigeria/São Tomé and Príncipe Joint Development Zone is negotiating prospecting in Block 1 of that area with a mid-size oil company, according to the Jornal de São Tomé newspaper.
Block 1, also known as Obô, was acquired by Chevron Texaco and later passed on to France’s Total, which eventually abandoned the project, since the oil was not found in sufficient quantity to have commercial value.
The newspaper said that the government of São Tomé and Príncipe had expected the first barrels of oil to be produced in 2012, which did not happen, and that goal was postponed until 2015, which to date has not happened.
This was one of the factors that forced the government to revoke the aid programme in effect and to propose the signing of a new financial aid package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) worth US$6.5 million for the next three years.
“The previous programme was negotiated and signed based on the prospect that in 2015 the country would already be exploring oil,” said the Minister of Finance and Public Administration, Américo Ramos, cited by the Portuguese News Network.
The first test well in the Exclusive Economic Zone of São Tomé and Príncipe tis expected to be drilled in 2017, according to recent statements from the coordinator of the National Oil Agency, Orlando Pontes.
This well is likely to be drilled by British company Equator Exploration, currently engaged in 3D seismic studies to determine the potential of Block 5, located about 70 miles off the coast of the island of Príncipe.
Equator Exploration’s main shareholder (94.6 percent of the share capital) is Oando Netherlands Holdings 1 Coöperatief UA, incorporated in the Netherlands, which in turn is 100 percent owned by Canada’s Oando Energy Resources group.(macauhub/ST)